CLEVELAND -- The Tigers had three relievers among the American League's top 12 in appearances this season entering Saturday. Two of them, Joba Chamberlain and Al Alburquerque, have injury histories that include Tommy John surgery. The other, Ian Krol, is in his first full Major League season.
With Chamberlain, at least, there's also a history of heavy workloads, and some thoughts on how to conserve wear and tear on his right arm.
"You try to limit what you do [warming up]," said Chamberlain, whose 34 appearances ranked just outside the AL's top 10. "If you're feeling good, maybe you stop right there, try to take the least stressful pitches you can to get ready.
"Obviously we have a lot of guys with some appearances, which means we're getting in games and keeping the routine going. It's just one of those things where you have to start listening to your body as you get closer to the All-Star break, and after that, just make sure you're doing what you need to do to get ready, but not overdoing it. Sometimes towards the end of the year, less is more for us."
Chamberlain appeared in 73 games with the Yankees in 2010, his last full healthy season. He made just 27 appearances the next season, then underwent Tommy John surgery.
"Al and I have done it," he said. "We've been in the situation. Krol being a young kid, getting his first full year in, it's one of those things where you have to tell him, 'Hey, if your [arm is] barking a little bit, don't even play catch.'"
Torii won't return this weekend; confident in fill-in
CLEVELAND -- Torii Hunter is proud, as he should be. He isn't crazy. He knows what J.D. Martinez is doing.
He knows better than to expect to get his old job back whenever he's ready to play in games again. Because if he was the manager, he wouldn't do it, either.
"Play the hot hand," Hunter said after Martinez's latest heroics Friday night. "If it's going to bring a ring, you keep [him] in there. It's no big deal. Seen it. Done it. Been there. I'm about winning. Even when I come back, hopefully he stays in there.
"Keep him in there, keep him hot. Always play the hot hand. If I was the manager, that's what I would do."
Brad Ausmus isn't saying definitively that he'll do that, but he strongly hinted at it Saturday afternoon.
"They're reasonable guys. They all understand," Ausmus said. "They understand J.D.'s swinging the bat well, so I think they understand it wouldn't be smart to take J.D. out of the lineup."
Ausmus also hinted that a rotation of four outfielders for three spots could be an option.
"If all four of those guys are doing well, you can mix and match," Ausmus said. "Guys need their days off. But if one guy's doing well, I think everyone understands you have to ride that horse while he's hot."
The slow recovery of Hunter's left hamstring has rendered that decision moot for now. Hunter ran on the field Friday afternoon, ran bases at about 80 percent of game speed, and took batting practice once again. He plans on running the bases again Saturday, this time close to full speed.
"I don't think Torii's ready to play full nine innings," Ausmus said. "He can pinch-hit, probably play a few innings in the outfield if he needed to. Same thing [Sunday] and then give him Monday's off-day, and then Tuesday plan to play him full-go."
As far as returning into a game, however, any plans to do so this weekend seem to have dissipated.
"We'll probably wait and see how it feels on Monday," Hunter said.
Krol placed on DL; Tigers call up McCoy
CLEVELAND -- The Tigers took Ian Krol at his word that he wasn't injured and can succeed out of the bullpen. After Krol's struggles Friday night, manager Brad Ausmus wasn't going to take a chance.
It's not pain that Krol is battling, Ausmus said, but fatigue. After a heavy workload for 2 1/2 months, it's enough of a worry that the Tigers placed Krol on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with what the team called left shoulder inflammation.
To fill his spot, the Tigers purchased the contract of lefty reliever Patrick McCoy from Triple-A Toledo.
Krol, who admitted to left shoulder soreness last weekend but said he felt fine a few days later, said Saturday he's going through a "dead arm" phase. His velocity was up Friday night compared to previous outings, but he said the life on his pitches was inconsistent.
"He had the biceps tendinitis [earlier]," Ausmus said. "He doesn't look right on the mound. He doesn't feel necessarily pain when he throws, but he doesn't feel right. Whether it's dead arm or however you want to describe it, he's a young kid, and I think, if nothing else, not throwing for a while probably will help him.
"We don't think there needs to be an MRI or anything like that."
Krol had been telling Tigers coaches and medical staff that he's healthy. Ausmus' words leading up to the move suggested some trepidation.
Krol's velocity has dropped from 94 mph in May to 92.25 in June, according to brooksbaseball.net. He averaged just over 91 mph with his fastball in his previous couple outings before topping 92 mph on Friday.
"He's got that old-school mentality that he wants the ball no matter what. He's never scared," Ausmus said. "The unfortunate part is that he's the type of guy that won't tell me, or won't tell [pitching coach] Jeff Jones, if something's not feeling great. He'll always want the ball. But that's the type of guy you want. You want the guy who'll take the ball under any circumstances, but you also want him to tell you when he's not feeling great."
McCoy joined the Tigers' organization as a Minor League free agent last winter after seven years in the Nationals system. The 25-year-old went 3-0 with a 2.94 ERA between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, striking out 26 batters over 33 2/3 innings against eight walks. Left-handed batters were hitting .220 (9-for-41) against him, compared with .259 (22-for-85) from righties.
To make room for McCoy on the 40-man roster, the Tigers transferred Luke Putkonen from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list. It's a procedural move that has no impact on his return, since he's already been on the DL for two months.